The Independent's journalism is supported by our readers. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission. Why trust us?

10 best skincare products for teens, from soothing to blemish-busting

These simplified skincare buys contain age-appropriate ingredients and clever formulas

Helen Wilson-Beevers
Wednesday 22 May 2024 11:10
With ever-changing hormones doing their worst, it’s a good time for teens to embrace a simple, targeted skincare routine
With ever-changing hormones doing their worst, it’s a good time for teens to embrace a simple, targeted skincare routine (iStock/The Independent)
Our Top Picks

Finding the perfect skincare routine is difficult at any stage of life, but it feels particularly hard now given the marketing slews and social media noise. The latter is of particular concern when it comes to teenagers, with people on TikTok sharing routines containing ingredients that aren’t always age-appropriate. If you’re on the quest for the best skincare products for your teen, we’re here to help.

Dermatology expert Dr Sonia Khorana told The Independent: “A good skincare routine for teens usually includes a gentle cleanser, a lightweight moisturiser and a sunscreen. That’s really all they need at that age.” Dr Khorana said she “would strongly advise against anything that contains retinol or exfoliating acids” as these ingredients can be “extremely irritating”. The only exception is if it’s “prescribed by a doctor”, she adds.

“Products containing such ingredients are formulated for mature skin and to help speed up skin cell turnover – they can really do damage to the skin barrier when used by teens,” Dr Khorana explains, adding: “Ingredients like salicylic acid/adapalene will help tackle oily skin or blemish-prone skin in teenage years but should be done under the advice of a professional.”

Dr Khorana recommends “gentle skin-barrier-loving ingredients like ceramides, panthenol, glycerin, and sunscreen” for teenagers, so we’ve rounded up a list to help inform you when shopping for your teenagers.

How we tested the best teen skincare products

A selection of the best teen skincare products we tested (Helen Wilson-Beevers)

We gathered a group of teenage testers with different skin types to review a selection of skincare over several months. Our testers looked at ease of use, ingredient efficiency, packaging and how their skin felt after use. We avoided the ingredients Dr Khorana said could cause damage, including retinol and exfoliating acids and only selected products for a straightforward routine. Read on for our top pick of the best products for teenage skin, to suit all budgets. 

The best teen skincare products for 2024 are:

  • Best teen skincare product overall – Aveeno calm + restore oat gel moisturiser: £5.01,
  • Best budget teen skincare product – Neutrogena clear + defend facial wash: £2,
  • Best cleanser for teens – CeraVe foaming cleanser: £10,
  • Best lightweight moisturiser for teens – The Ordinary natural moisturising factors + HA: £12.80,
  • Best sunscreen for teens – The Inkey List polyglutamic acid dewy sunscreen SPF30: £11.35,

Aveeno calm + restore oat gel moisturiser

Aveeno calm + restore oat gel moisturiser .jpg
  • Best: Teen skincare product overall
  • Size: 50ml
  • Key ingredients: Oat
  • Why we love it
    • Lightweight formula
    • Fragrance-free

This gentle, calming moisturiser has a gel-like consistency and feels cooling on application. The formula is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive ones, and its key ingredient is soothing prebiotic oat, which is gentle and can relieve irritation, making it ideal for young skin. It has a glossy texture that gradually sinks into the skin, leaving it feeling soft – our teenager tester noted how comfortable the moisturiser is on dry patches or easily aggravated areas.

Fragrance-free and hypoallergenic, it’s moisturising and offers lightweight hydration for teens prone to experiencing irritation or redness from skincare products.

  1. £5 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

Neutrogena clear + defend facial wash

Neutrogena clear + defend facial wash.jpg
  • Best: Budget teen skincare product
  • Size: 50ml
  • Key ingredients : Salicylic acid, tea tree
  • Why we love it
    • Deeply cleanses skin
  • Take note
    • Could cause irritation to those with sensitive skin

A budget-friendly face wash, this oil-free cleanser is specifically formulated to help prevent breakouts due to the inclusion of the anti-inflammatory ingredient salicylic acid.

The cleanser can be used daily, and our tester tended to use the face wash on alternate days with another cleanser, so as not to experience any of the active ingredient’s potential drying effects. Our tester massaged the clear liquid into their skin before washing it off and following up with the lightweight Neutrogena hydro boost water gel moisturiser (£13.99, With frequent use, they saw refreshed, cleansed skin and the improvement of some blemishes, too.

It’s worth noting that because this product contains salicylic acid, it could cause irritation to those with sensitive skin, so, if you have any concerns, consult a dermatologist.

  1. £2 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

Q+A green tea daily toner

Untitled design - 2022-08-30T150618.915.png
  • Best: Refreshing toner for teens
  • Size: 100ml
  • Key ingredients: Green tea extract, Tasmanian pepperberry, hyaluronic acid
  • Why we love it
    • Soothing and calming

This skin-soothing toner costs less than a tenner and includes calming components such as aloe vera and green tea, while glycerin offers hydration. The lightweight liquid is gentle on easily irritated skin, and our tester saw supple, soft skin.

Suitable for all skin types, the subtle fresh scent is pleasing, too. It’s worth knowing the brand’s packaging includes a skincare checklist and there’s also a quiz on the website, so you can shop by skin type and concerns. Our tester has also been enjoying Q+A’s oat milk cream cleanser (£7.50, which is soothing and gentle, and the light and redness-balancing zinc PCA daily moisturiser (£8.50,

For more recommendations, read our review of the best Q+A skincare products

  1. £8 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

CeraVe foaming cleanser

CeraVe foaming cleanser.jpg
  • Best: Cleanser for teens
  • Size: 236ml
  • Key ingredients: Ceramides, niacinamide
  • Why we love it
    • Hydrating

CeraVe is a skincare brand beloved for its affordable and effective cleansers, with this foaming option featuring hydration-promoting ceramides and balancing niacinamide. Our teenage tester found that the combination thoroughly cleaned their skin without causing tightness or drying it out, which can be a tricky balance to strike. The gel formula feels refreshing and it also removes make-up. This cleanser is fragrance-free and non-comedogenic, so it won’t block pores either.

It’s worth knowing this sizeable cleanser comes in an even bigger 473ml option, too. CeraVe also has a blemish control face cleanser for teens seeking an alternative from the brand that targets breakouts.

For more recommendations, read our review of the best CeraVe products

Back to top

The Ordinary natural moisturising factors + HA

The Ordinary natural moisturising factors + HA.jpg
  • Best: Lightweight moisturiser for teens
  • Size: 100ml
  • Key ingredients: Amino acid, hyaluronic acid, ceramides
  • Why we love it
    • Soothing and smoothing without greasiness
    • Suitable for all skin types

A lightweight moisturiser suitable for all skin types, this product was specifically created to support the skin’s natural barrier. The inclusion of hydration-promoting hyaluronic acid and ceramides helps offer moisture to dry skin, and our teenage tester found it soothing and smoothing without any greasiness.

The moisturiser is white, but it rubs into skin leaving a transparent, silky soft sheen, acting as an ideal primer ahead of make-up. It’s also worth noting our teenage tester has patches of dryness while also being prone to sensitivity, and they didn’t experience any breakouts or sensitivity when using this gentle moisturiser.

Back to top

Starface hydro-stars

Untitled design - 2022-08-30T152214.600.png
  • Best: Spot patches for teens
  • Size: 32 stars
  • Key ingredients: 100 per cent hydrocolloid
  • Why we love it
    • Keep irritated skin clean

Presented in a cute yellow compact complete with a useful application mirror, these star-shaped patches are the perfect size to cover small and big blemishes. The side of the sticker touching the skin is made from hydrocolloid, which is commonly used as a dressing to heal blisters and wounds. Because of that, our tester found wearing them overnight dramatically improved the appearance of redness and inflammation. We turned to the patches as a quick fix for stubborn spots and saw they looked less angry after wearing one of these fun stars.

The stickers also keep an irritated area clean; they don’t slide about, and there’s no tackiness during removal, either. There are 32 stickers included, providing value for money, too.

For more recommendations, read our review of the best spot stickers

  1. £11 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

Oodee halo purifying foaming cleanser

Untitled design - 2022-08-30T151902.778.png
  • Best: For irritable skin
  • Size: 150ml
  • Key ingredients: Niacinamide
  • Why we love it
    • Extremely gentle

This allergen-neutral cleanser is super gentle and has a lightweight formula featuring ingredients such as rice protein and prickly pear that won’t trigger skin reactions. The 150ml pump release bottle is a chic silver shade with minimalist branding, and one pump delivers a generous dollop of cleanser, creating a satisfying foam. As such, a little bit of product goes a long way.

Our tester saw a refreshed glow after use and also noticed their skin feeling softer and suitably prepped for moisturiser.

  1. £24 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

Jojo Glow the reusable face cloth

Jojo Glow the reusable face cloth .jpg
  • Best: For removing make-up
  • Size: Unspecified
  • Key ingredients: N/A
  • Why we love it
    • Feels luxurious to use

For the simplest skincare option of all, just add water to this face cloth to remove make-up without using any other products. The double-sided microfibre cloth is extremely soft to the touch, which means it feels luxurious, and there’s a handy loop attachment for hanging it up. We particularly like the roll-up rectangular shape, which reached our tester’s entire face with ease and removed both foundation and eye make-up.

A sustainably focused option for ongoing reuse, we’ve found the face cloth washes well and retains its softness, too.

Back to top

The Inkey List polyglutamic acid dewy sunscreen SPF30

The Inkey List SPF.jpg
  • Best: Sunscreen for teens
  • Size: 50ml
  • Key ingredients: Polyglutamic acid
  • Why we love it
    • Fast-absorbing formula

This fast-absorbing sunscreen is smoothing and hydrating, thanks to the inclusion of hero ingredients polyglutamic acid, glycerin and squalane.

Our tester noted it’s a lightweight consistency that layers well with a moisturiser to create a smooth base, whether for a bare face or prepped for make-up. Plus, because it’s suitable for all skin types, this SPF is ideal for teenagers who are naturally more prone to sensitivity, irritation, and redness.

The compact tube is a useful size for popping in a bag for top-ups on the go, and we’re big fans of the purse-friendly price, too.

Back to top

Curél deep moisture spray

Curél deep moisture spray.jpg
  • Best: Face mist for teens
  • Size: 150ml
  • Key ingredients: Ceramides
  • Why we love it
    • Quick hydration top-up

For a quick moisturiser on the go, this face mist is packed with hydrating ceramides and offers a finely dispersed spray that covers the skin with ease. It’s fragrance-free, suitable for dry and sensitive skin, and can be used both underneath and on top of make-up. Our tester enjoys using it as a refresher throughout the day, during hot weather and for extra hydration before bedtime. Plus, it’s a multi-tasking buy, as the moisture spray can be used on the body, too.

  1. £15 from
Prices may vary
Back to top

The verdict: Teenage skincare

Our overall best buy is Aveeno calm + restore oat gel moisturiser, thanks to its soothing formula and lightweight consistency. Meanwhile, the CeraVe foaming cleanser is suitable for all skin types and contains hydration-promoting ceramides. Finally, if you’d like a calming tonic suitable for regular use, Q+A’s green tea daily toner is refreshing and felt comforting on our teen tester’s skin.

Looking for blemish-busting solutions? Here are the best spot treatments, tried and tested by our beauty experts

Voucher Codes

TUI Discount Code
£300 off a 7 night stay with the deal of the week - TUI discount code
ASOS Discount Code
10% off first orders £20+ using this ASOS promo code
Travelodge Discount Code
Save 5% on all bookings - Travelodge discount code
The Body Shop Discount Code
Save 20% on everything - The Body Shop discount code
The Perfume Shop Discount Code
Save 15% on everything with birthday orders at The Perfume Shop - Member exclusive
Cult Beauty Discount Code
15% off orders over £25 with this Cult Beauty voucher code

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in